How, when you have depression, do you find the light in the day?
I have no idea to that question.
I am only me. The glass is half-empty me. The “some days it’s hard to live” me.
I find life really really hard.
So hard in fact I became a raging alcoholic.
Raging might be too strong a word.
I was functional. Sort of.
I always managed to take my children to school. I always managed to get their dinner on the table. I always managed to get their clothes washed. I hardly ever managed to keep the house straight.
I have friends who didn’t fare so well. Miss J used to go to school with a girl whose mother constantly kept her at home for “family” days. In reality, she was too hungover to take her daughter to school.
I didn’t get that bad. But, lordy, I could easily have done so.
I decided today that I was going to take control of my life and lose weight. I enrolled at the Tony Ferguson centre near me. Yes, it’s a milkshake thing. That’s not the point.
The consultant spoke to me of what was and was not allowed and the rather sticky subject of alcohol came up.
“Um,” she said, “alcohol isn’t really allowed.”
“That’s okay,” I said, “I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve been sober for nearly five years.”
Her eyes lit up. “Good girl,” she said. “If you can do that, you can do anything.”
Giving up alcohol never really seemed that big a deal to me so when people react this way I am always so surprised. It’s the living of life that I find so fucking hard.
I looked at her. “Yes, I suppose I can do anything.”
I don’t feel like I can do anything. I don’t. There are days when I feel I can’t breathe, never mind do “anything”.
But I did stop drinking. I made that conscious choice not to pick up a glass of wine.
In AA there is a saying that one glass is too much and a bottle is not enough. That’s what it is like for an alcoholic. There is no moderation. There is no “just a couple”. That first sip of alcohol is the beginning of the end.
For us, alcohol is a seductive mistress. We don’t want to sleep with her, but her allure, her promise of a good time, her promise of helping us to forget how fucking hard life is, is just too tempting. And we give in. Hard. Only to bitterly regret it the following morning. Oh Dear God the remorse. But not enough remorse to stop us doing it again. Usually the very next day.
And so I decided to look that mistress in the eye and say no more.
She didn’t want to let me go. She kept knocking on the inside of my brain willing me to take just one sip of alcohol. Just one sip. What harm could it possibly do? One sip, and all the pain of living can be eradicated once more. And you can be the good time girl again. The one that laughs with abandon and is jolly and sociable and fun to be around.
But I held on. I resisted her. Just one day at a time, I resisted.
And here I am. Learning to live life without my mistress. Like a child learning to walk.
I want to be cheery and laugh and see only good in life.
I just don’t know how right now.
I will get there. Dear lord I hope I get there before I die.
I keep telling myself that I can do this. I CAN FUCKING DO THIS DAMMIT!!!
And so I keep waking up. Willing myself to push past the seductress, followed by the “I want to die” thoughts.
And I tell myself “Just for today I am going to survive“.
Because that’s all I have right now. Survival.
Living will come another day. Living will slowly emerge as I learn to take off my training wheels and learn to embrace life in all its fucked up glory. I imagine it prancing over the mountain of shit on its trusty steed saying in its deep strong voice “Here you go Sarah, life is for the living, and here is how you do it. Now go. Live. Make your mark!”
I’m trying. I promise I am trying.
Please know that.
Until next time,